Have you read The Suitcase Entrepreneur? It fits very much with the idea of an entrepreneur living a jet-setting lifestyle. Now, we know that the big names Branson, Bannatyne, Jones and Sugar probably do live like this, but what about the smaller entrepreneurs like you and me? Well, with a little help from a telephone answering service you could live like that too ...
In her book, Natalie Sisson explains how you can run a business without a fixed address. Using her own experience she shares some useful thoughts on what is important when running your own business from a suitcase.
I think that the essential four things - a laptop/tablet/smartphone, a good Internet connection, a sound business idea and the right mindset - are applicable to any business, if I am honest.
Let's look at each of these in turn relating them to Telephone Answering :
A laptop, tablet or smartphone
It is crucial for us that any business owner we work with is able to retrieve their messages and respond to their callers. I cannot imagine anyone running their business without a computer of some kind.
Now, because Natalie is living out of her suitcase, she probably has some ideas about which laptop you should have (a thin, lightweight one is an obvious choice). For me though, I think it is more important that whatever you use allows you access to files, diaries, your accounts records and your bank accounts which are all crucial factors in running a business.
Of course email is the crucial thing for the telephone answering service to get you your messages whilst you are on the other side of the world.
A good Internet connection
It is very hard to run a business without an Internet connection these days. I know that a number of our clients have booked holidays believing that nothing will change whilst they are away as they will access their emails and action accordingly.
Their frustration was evident on their return when they admitted to us that they did not receive any of the messages we had taken for them as they had been unable to get online. This is tricky for a telephone answering service to handle, as customers are expecting a response and do not receive one promptly.
So, I would certainly agree with Natalie; an Internet connection is crucial for running a business.
A sound business idea
It seems to me that Natalie has these in the wrong order. Surely, a sound business idea should be the first thing when it comes to running a business? More importantly for people involved in your business, whether employed by you directly or working in an outsource capacity - like our telephone answering service - everyone should have an idea about what you do, how you do it and what difference it can make to your clients.
Sometimes our clients find it strange that we want to know all about their business, but it helps us provide good effective telephone answering if we know how the business will help the caller.
The right mindset
I think this is crucial. Especially if you are going to run your business away from home. I think one of the biggest challenges we face in telephone answering is helping new clients understand that we may not always do things the way they have always been done.
We will though, do the best that we can with the information provided to help both the caller on the phone and the business owner to achieve what they wish to achieve. Some business owners find it difficult micro-managing over long distance - one of the most important lessons they need to learn is that in order to grow they have to let go a little and learn to delegate.
So whether you are planning the trip of a lifetime, wanting to emigrate or would just like to spend more time away from the office sunning yourself, a true suitcase entrepreneur needs a telephone answering service to ease the burden.
I had a successful 20-year career as an office manager and personal assistant; however, my job was no longer focused on the customers and became all about the numbers. My customer-focused background began when I was 12 in my father's independent carpet showroom. I had a spell with Marks & Spencer before I moved into office-based jobs. I have worked as a training administrator, a PA and PA/office manager in a variety of industries from manufacturing to the IT education sector.
Meanwhile, my husband Ian, a successful Northampton based Master Decorator and owner of Rainbow Frost, was losing out on work due to missed phone calls. When he was busy, callers were getting his voicemail but weren't leaving messages. I knew how to fix that problem!
I quit my job and took on Ian as the first client of The Office Genie in November 2005. Word quickly spread with the second client coming on board just one week later. The majority of our clients since have come to us through word of mouth recommendations and networking referrals. Over the years, I have become well connected in Northampton and Milton Keynes.
Outside of work I enjoy swimming, roller skating, the theatre and my cats and dogs!
no unauthorised use, duplication, distribution or modification to any original content contained within this website is permitted without prior written permission of the author. All other trademarks and registered names are acknowledged. In accordance with the EU Cookie Law this website only uses a session cookie for essential functionality. We do not use any cookies that personally identify you.